Ghazal for an Oilfield Town

The Ghazal Page has published one of my poems. The ghazal is an Arabic form that often expresses love and loss and the beauty that arises within both. This poem is about the grim beauty of the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota and people who work there.

Ghazal for an Oilfield Town

Fence Rail

the fence rail
wanders the country
like a whisk for
snow drifts

a cowboy
rides it all day
like a patient scholar

past fear
is always and always
and beyond is dread
and perhaps knowing

today he gives
one side a credit
and debits the other

Visitor

last night a Barred Owl
in the tree behind our house

like a Buddha
in prison clothes

Headlight

the light of your
saving otherness
silvers the tin birds
above the hand-painted pond

like the headlight
on the model train
you left behind
for bigger
and better things

Monk on the Ridge

“At midnight we raise their wine to tomorrow” — W. S. Merwin

a caftan shirt made of powder
smells of cinders and bergamot

leaving the city tunnel at noon

the ridge goes where I go
of old wool and garage blossoms
make me a pallet

on older snow the sun passes away

monarch butterflies
drift upwards
bubbles in older wine

monks walk like credit cards
making betrayal a thing of calendars

in the abandoned hours
after solstice

Wildfire Near Redding, California

the front walks
in a red jersey
over the hills
marking its territory
hiding its feet
like Frida Kahlo

the veil of place hardens
where water becomes
accountable down
around the eyes

like a concerto
it takes a while
to feel the lyric weight
and wrench of it

then it starts to roar
piercing the skin
like a blown Nascar engine
and spitting liquid glass
from the corner of its eyes
like a Texas Horned Lizard

Oregon Desert

sun like lava
dragonflies
deer
ponderosa pines
smell like cinnamon

in the lodge
an exhibit
of flint arrowheads
a photo of a Paiute fire pit
a bone fish hook
like a pearly
fingernail

someone said
the water slide
should go here